HOW TO PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR SALE: 7 VITAL STEPS
Selling your home is not a short process — it can take weeks of preparation before you list your home on the Multiple Listing Service, and it can take weeks after that before you close the deal on your house. If you want to make sure that your home sale process is as fast and hassle-free as possible, it’s important to take certain steps to prepare your home for sale.
If you look into a guide to selling a home, they don’t always go into detail for how to get your home ready to be listed — so that’s what we’re going to cover here today! We have spent years helping people sell their homes faster and for a better price; and with that experience, we have identified 7 key steps that you should take as you get ready to put your home up for sale:
1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT AGENT
The most important step to take when getting ready to sell your home is to make sure that you are working with the right agent. If you have the wrong agent on your side, selling your home can take an unnecessary amount of time, bring a lot of undue stress, and cost you a lot of money on your home (which can make it more stressful to move up to a different home!).
If you have a high-quality agent — or team — representing your interests, it can alleviate a lot of hassle and stress. The right agent will help you create a home selling plan, provide high-quality marketing for your home, and guide you through the entire process from listing to closing.
2. DECIDE YOUR SELLING STRATEGY
Once you’ve chosen your real estate agent, you can start to talk about what strategy you want to take to sell your home. The most common plan is to list your home on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and attract as many buyers as possible. In a hot market like Washington DC and the nearby area, sellers tend to have more bargaining power. Because of this, a lot of home sellers choose to list their home to try to get a lot of buyers interested in the home and create a bidding war to get the most money possible.
That’s not the only strategy that you can take, however. Another option is to sell your home off-market. This means that you don’t list your home on the MLS, instead working with your agent to sell it directly to a motivated buyer. Although this lowers the chances of driving a bidding war, it also tends to be a way to sell your home fast, especially if your real estate agent has access to a large network of off-market buyers.
3. FIX UP (AND CLEAN) YOUR HOME
If you and your agent decide to sell your home by listing it on the MLS, then you need to start preparing your home to be shown. If you are going to be living in the home while selling it, it can be a bit difficult to make sure that it’s always in condition to be shown — but do the best that you can.
Once your agent has seen your home, they will give you suggestions for things to fix or change in order to maximize your home’s appeal. This could be minor things like cleaning your mailbox and adding smart home technology, or it could be larger renovation projects to boost value. Make sure to listen to your real estate agent, so you don’t end up doing home renovations that don’t pay off when you get to the closing table.
4. DE-PERSONALIZE YOUR HOME
When showing a home, it’s generally good if the person taking the tour can immediately imagine themselves living there — and while that family portrait hanging over the fireplace might be a masterpiece, it will probably make it harder for someone to picture themselves buying the home.
Make sure that you don’t just focus on the inside of your home. If the exterior of your house has obvious decorations or modifications that are highly personalized, it could start any showings off with a bad impression. Remember, any potential home buyers are going to judge your home’s outside first, so make sure it is clean and de-personalized!
As with the previous step, your agent can help guide you when it comes to specific questions about your home. Listen to their advice — they have the knowledge and experience when it comes to making sure homes show well and sell quickly!
5. STAGE YOUR HOME
This step is fairly self-explanatory. After you’ve de-cluttered and de-personalized your home, you need to stage your home in a way that is most appealing to potential buyers. Again, this might be a little more difficult to do if you are actively living in the home that you are selling, but it is by no means impossible.
Make sure to ask your agent if they have any professional stagers that they prefer working with. It’s important to make sure that you are working with high-quality stagers for your home — after all, knowing how to stage your home to sell quickly is a valuable tool in your arsenal!
6. DO A WALKTHROUGH — BUT NOT ALONE
Call over a friend and do a walkthrough of your home (after it has been cleaned and staged), pretending that you are seeing it for the first time as a home searcher. This will give you a glimpse into how strangers might react to your house, so you can make any adjustments to how things are laid out or decorated.
So why bring a friend? For one, they can bring a fresh perspective to the process — as well as a fresh nose! Your home might have a strong scent to it that you don’t even notice anymore; that can be off-putting to potential buyers, even if it is a pleasant scent. Have your friend tell you if they feel overwhelmed by the smell when they first walk into the home.
7. GET IT LISTED!
All that’s left now is to get your home up on the MLS! The good news for you is that your work is basically done at this point. Your agent will bring a photographer — and maybe a videographer, if they make property videos like the one below — to take pictures of your house for the listing. Once they’ve done that, they will input the information and begin to market your home through social media posts, ads, open houses, and whatever other strategies they have.
With any luck, or with a good enough agent, you will start to have people showing interest in your home within a few days or weeks — and then it’s just a matter of making a deal that works for you and closing on the home!
As with many real estate guides, these steps will differ slightly depending on your personal needs and strategy. That’s why it’s vital that you work with an agent or team who are experts at selling homes in your market — they know what works in your locale!